This is the week where it all begins. Where brand new careers get launched, dreams set sail, addictions are born, and critics get busy fawning or yawning over TV’s new fall shows. Well not exactly, we did have a few debuts last week but this is the time when studios and networks are very nervous. It used to be that a new program was allowed to sprout and grow, with limited viewership while it was still a sapling…until soon enough people got wind of its quality and folks started tuning in, after a few months or perhaps even a year. Those freewheeling days of TV? Gone.
Now a new show has to sing right out of the gate or else it goes to the Away Place but quick because the people who pay for the shows don’t fool around when there are huge advertising dollars at stake.
2 Broke Girls is kind of genius, and The Playboy Club is actually better than I thought.
The comedy 2 Broke Girls won’t have any problem sustaining itself for at least the season. It’s a genuinely funny show and the two (broke) girls headlining are both seriously talented. They’re also given great stuff to say, which is probably in no small part due to the fact that Michael Patrick King (the man behind Sex and the City) is running the show here. This one will definitely take, and Kat Dennings’ star will continue to rise. She’s not as quirkycute as Zooey Deschanel, but she’s a neat actress to watch with awesome comic timing.
The Playboy Club is, despite my initial sense that it would be boring and self-important, kind of intriguing. Eddie Cibrian is certainly appealing enough although he even sounds like Jon Hamm which is vaguely offputting. But he’s got that leading man thing down. Once you get over the fact that women were treated very differently forty years ago, and once the Bunnies establish this with statements that will presumably grow less provocative as the series continues, it looks to me like the whole show is more of a crime drama than anything else. Not necessarily a bad thing. And as for all those people who are boycotting it on the grounds that it promotes indecency and prostitution? They’re better devoting their time harassing other TV shows, because this one – at least from the pilot – is no more toxic than anything else on right now. The girls are great -looking, if monochromatic, and the show’s filled with stock characters (hardscrabble ingénue lead, sassy best friend, fearsome den mother, rogue good-guy with an ugly bad-guy past, opaque mobster, addled and nonthreateningly-sized manager, etc). It may get boring and repetitive soon, but if they can maintain the tension created by the pilot’s murder/coverup, they might just have something. The Playboy Club is better than Free Agents, but nowhere near as good as 2 Broke Girls.
Who saw the Dancing With The Stars premiere? Who doesn’t think David Arquette is charming? Does Brooke Burke have a genuine bone in her (genuinely bony) body? Elizabetta Canalis used to belong to the same gym as me in Los Angeles, although she appears to have gone several thousand times more than I’ve ever been. I’m pretty sure that she didn’t take any dancing classes there – or anywhere else, for that matter. Which is why she, or Ron Artest will likely go home tonight. That’s my (wildly uneducated, because I never took dancing at the gym either) guess.
1) Two and a Half Men
2) 2 Broke Girls
3) The Playboy Club